Madeleine L'Engle died last week. A good friend notified me of her passing. Several years ago, I happened upon her book Walking On Water: Reflections on Faith & Art. Although she is probably best known for A Wrinkle in Time, it is this "faith & art" book that is my favorite.

"Not long ago a college senior asked if she could talk to me about being a Christian writer. If she wanted to write Christian fiction, how was she to go about it?
I told her that if she is truly and deeply a Christian, what she writes is going to be Christian, whether she mentions Jesus or not. And if she is not, in the most profound sense, Christian, then what she writes is not going to be Christian, no matter how many times she invokes the name of the Lord." (pp. 121-122)

For some of us, that kind of thinking throws a wrinkle in things. We mention Jesus in conversation or insist on our music invoking the name of the Lord and tend to believe those things indicate we are Christian. Jesus becomes this seal of approval. If you hear or see his name, it's Christian. If you don't, it's not. That kind of thinking has all the veracity of saying that the lady with the fish sticker on the back of her van is a Christian, while she whips in front of me and flips me the swollen middle finger in the rearview mirror. Sorry, that fish don't swim.

"...in the most profound sense, Christian..."

That's what I desire my life to be - profoundly Christian; "truly and deeply." Something deep enough for the "fish" to swim in.


  1. Good post, John. I've read the Summer of the Great Grandmother. A friend suggested it as a means of dealing with Mom's Alzheimer's.

    Will probably explore other works by her in the days ahead.

  2. John, perhaps co-opting the name of Jesus and using him to endorse "our" perspective, a personal stamp of approval as you mention here, is key to why so many believers (including myself) have difficulty calling themselves a Christian anymore. The hypocrisy between what we profess versus how we act is damaging. I had to smile at the Ichthus on a car reference--your rationale is EXACTLY why I won't put a Jesus fish on my car, lol. If salvation was "lose-able", driving in traffic with idiot (sorry) drivers is the one place I'd lose it (okay, maybe there are more, but this isn't exactly a confessional).

    I'm picking up your L'Engle quote...it's in keeping with something else I'm writing...thanks.

    Signing in w/my Blogger ID, but I'm at TypePad now: PENSIEVE

  3. Good thoughts. PENSIEVE sent me your way after she read one of my blog posts on TypePad. I'm glad she did! We are in sync with our thoughts on this. Bless you.